HAVING promoted the enjoyment of ethnically diverse music in Helsinki since 1988, Etnosoi! is celebrating its 25th jubilee this year from 6 to 24 November. Organised since 1989 by the Global Music Centre, the festival continues to shine a light on a variety of cultures on the Finnish stage that might not otherwise be left unexplored and unexposed here.

Focusing on Helsinki, yet offering some events also in Tampere, Etnosoi! offers its audience the opportunity to travel around the globe, sampling a variety of breathtaking sights and sounds from places such as India, Iran, Crete and Tuva.

Getting things started this year, local duo Tapani Rinne and Teho Majamäki evoke the musical spices of Northern India with the sounds of the E flat and bass clarinet, udu and santoor on 6 November at Martinus Concert Hall. Two days later, 8 November sees the eight members of Dhoad Gypsies of Rajasthan taking the Savoy Theatre stage, offering musicianship accompanied by a dancer and fakir as they present a performance straight out of the wild Thar Desert.

Meanwhile, the lyra and tarhu of Ross Daly and Kelly Thoma team up with Cretan virtuoso Giorgos Manolakis on the laouto on 9 November at Malmitalo, offering a fresh take on familiar sounds.

9 November also sees Etnosoi! in Tampere at Telakka, with a children’s workshop at Telakka, followed by a concert from Faarao Pirttikangas and Pekko Käppi.

Back in Helsinki, the same day sees the return to Finland of cult act Yat-Kha, bringing a distinct blend of Tuvan traditional music, rock, electro and post punk influences featuring vocalist and guitarist Albert Kuvezin’s distinctive kargyraa throat singing style, the kanzat kargyraa.

6-24 November

Etnosoi! for Children is being staged at Malmitalo on 11 November, with a range of multicultural workshops and concerts for the youngsters, taking them on a musical journey around the world. The songs of the concert are inspired by old tales and by exotic animals, and children are encouraged to try their hand at singing along together with the band in such exotic tongues as Japan and Hindi.

The festival finishes up with the local sounds of “Kansanmusiikin isompi ilta” on 24 November, offering a wide variety of top class Finnish folks bands on stage at the Helsinki Music Centre.

More information and the full programme can be found at the Etnosoi! website.

James O’Sullivan